Meghan in Dior for Royal Air Force Anniversary – UPDATED

The Duchess of Sussex wore Dior for today’s service marking the 100th anniversary of the Royal Air Force. 

A closer look at Meghan and Harry arriving for the service at Westminster Abbey marking the occasion. This is the first time Prince Harry has worn the RAF uniform.

The Duchess of Cornwall and Prince Charles as they arrive at the Abbey.

Here you see the Queen arriving inside the Abbey.

During today’s service Mark Hunt, a 20-year RAF Engineer Officer reads from “The Birth of the Royal Air Force” by Richard Overy.

The couple leaving the Abbey.

A bit of history about the Royal Air Force. The RAF was a new branch of the British military formed in 1918 when the Royal Naval Air Service was merged with the Royal Flying Corps. Here you see King George V in 1914 as he inspects part of the Royal Flying Corps.

Below, Edward, Prince of Wales [later King Edward VIII]; King George V; Albert, Duke of York [later King George VI] seen in their RAF uniforms, 1935.

The RAF has released a terrific collection of historic photographs showcasing the organization’s London ties; you can view some of them here. Below, one of the photos shows some of the Women’s RAF contingent at the Queen’s coronation parade in 1953.

More about today’s events via Harper’s Bazaar:

The festivities in London include a service at Westminster Abbey followed by a parade of up to 1,300 serving personnel and a celebratory flypast with up to 100 aircraft over Buckingham Palace.

Here you see the royals gathered for the historic flypast at Buckingham Palace.

Some of the renowned Red Arrows.

A lovely photo from James Whatling of HM and the Duchess as they watch the aircraft. 

This BBC video offers a terrific look at the aircraft as they flew past the Palace and the Mall.

There was also a reception at Buckingham Palace, offering an opportunity to meet RAF veterans, serving personnel and their families. Some of those taking part: The Prince of Wales, Duchess of Cornwall, Duke of Cambridge, Duke of York, and Duke and Duchess of Sussex.

Another view of the couple chatting with attendees.

Now for our look at what Meghan wore, beginning with her Dior dress.

Thoughts on Meghan’s look from Edward Barsamian in Vogue:

Elegantly cut to reveal a sliver of skin along the collarbone, the boatneck dress was similar in silhouette to the custom Givenchy gown that Markle wore to walk down the aisle this past May. The dress was gently nipped at the waist and secured with a thin belt, in keeping with the traditional 1950s New Look shape the French house is famous for.

Meghan’s shoes are by Dior. (One way to know: the brand uses a gold star on the sole of the heel at the arch.) The design is similar to the brand’s classic Dior “d-choc” heels.

The d-choc shoe design is based off a classic 1959 shoe design by Roger Vivier, who designed shoes for Christian Dior from 1953 to 1963. One of Mr. Vivier’s most notable creations: he is credited with the invention of the stiletto heel. Below, the designer. 

Meghan’s heels have a connection to the Queen that involves Roger Vivier.

Below a 1959 print ad featuring Vivier designs.

The Duchess also carried a Dior bag. It looks similar to this Fall 2017 style discovered by Elizabeth of Meghan’s Fashion. Update: We don’t believe Meghan’s bag has the clasp seen on this bag.

Meghan wore her hair up, with a hat by milliner Stephen Jones.

The Duchess wore her ‘Galanterie de Cartier’ earrings in white gold with diamonds. (Shown below as worn on her wedding day.)  

Here is a video from the reception that has a fair amount of video of the couple.

UPDATE JULY 12: Dior released this statement regarding Meghan’s dress, bag and shoes. The House says the dress and bag are black. 

This should resolve the issue of precisely what color the Duchess was wearing.

Not entirely, at least for the two of us managing the site. We both think Meghan wore a very dark navy, a midnight blue if you will. While we can’t presume to think for the Duchess, it would make sense she wear navy in honor of the RAF’s blue; we also think it unlikely she would wear black to this function. Are we decreeing we know better than Dior, the designers and creators of the pieces worn by the Duchess? Not all. But over all the years Susan K has run What Kate Wore and What Kate’s Kids Wore, and the many years Susan C has observed and worked chronicling royal style, we have been involved in a number of instances where a designer or retailer or PR firm has inadvertently issued incorrect information about an item. It happens. Not often, but it does happen.

We may well be wrong, along with several other royal fashion bloggers who have also said they believe the items were deep navy, despite the news release. It’s likely we’ll never know, barring the inclusion of the garment in a hoped-for future royal fashion exhibit at Kensington Palace or another venue.


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  1. Re the colour of the dress, I also believe it is midnight blue. Reading the Dior comment like the lawyer I am, it says the Duchess wore a dress designed by x designer along with a black bag. In other words, the reference to black seems to be in connection with the bag not the dress. It is silent as to the colour of the dress. BTW I so wish they called her the Duchess of Sussex, not MM as here. If they need their clicks, maybe they should call her the D of S formerly known as MM.
    I realize this comment is very late, but we are on holiday with limited access. I have not read all the comments so many others may have said the same thing. King regards.


  2. Meghan looks stunning, no doubt…but this dress is a total miss. She looks like she’s going to a cocktail party. If she had worn this dress for a different occasion, she’d have hit it out of the park.

  3. This is such a beautiful outfit, it reminds me of classic Audrey Hepburn or something she might have worn in a movie. Love the shoes, clutch, and big bow fascinator (I refuse to call that a hat!).
    My one “negative” observation that some people seem to have picked up on: I’ve noticed with a few of her outfits the bust area seems a bit weird/misaligned or like her bra or undergarment or whatever form of support she is wearing seems not to fit right and you can tell by looking at the pictures. Not sure if she’s wearing a strapless bra here or maybe there is a bra built into the dress? But something is off. It is noticeable in close ups of her but not from far away.

  4. Undeniably perfect. Meghan looks stunning in this Dior Dress. And to top it by wearing shoes by Roger Vivier shoes is the icing on the cake. My favourite shoe designer. Her simple, sleek hair and that gorgeous hat (looks cobweb fine) added to the beauty of the whole look.
    I thought the Ralph Lauren dress and hat she wore at Prince Louis’s christening was stunning too. The olive green colour suited her so much and I never thought she’d top that so quickly. But Meghan did. Catwalk material.

  5. I am rocking a side bun and a royal blue shift dress/nude shoes at work today! Getting lots of compliments so the Meghan Effect is working for me lol. The side bun feels very glamorous but modern. Shift dress makes you feel polished, sophisticated and confident. Professional yet feminine. Even though this website is about the DOS would love if Susan would let us share our Meghan inspired fashions and style one day!

  6. She looks stunning! But I have two majors quibbles: 1) What is going on with the colour palette? We’re seeing a lot of autumn colours when the country is experiencing a heat wave. Viewed from London it looks completely out of place/time?
    2) I am puzzled by her choosing a French fashion house to mark such a big public event. Actually more than puzzled, a little annoyed. I was already not really on board with the Givenchy choice, I thought it was stretching it a bit to make ‘British’ but this is flatly not even Commonwealth. Of course she can wear all the French or American labels she wants for private events. But when representing the Royal Air Force centenary, I thought it was out of step.

    Anyway as I opened with, she looks stunning!

  7. I am American and very new to British Royal fashion and traditions. I am thoroughly enjoying this site and all the informative context you provide, in addition to sartorial details. I also love reading the various opinions of other followers. At Prince Louis’s christening, some questioned why Meghan would carry gloves in summer. I confess I was also confused. For the RAF Anniversary, however, Camilla, Princess Anne, and HRH all wore gloves. Was it cooler in London or is this simply a normal accessory for this type of event?

    I thought Meghan looked lovely in the dark navy Dior dress, but I am curious about its appropriateness. Please correct me if I am wrong, but from what I read the event was both a celebration of the history and achievements of the Royal Air Force, as well as a tribute to those who serve, have served, or have lost their lives during service. It seems that almost any color would be appropriate, even though some would have preferred a lighter hue. Then again, what do I know? 🙂 Applause all around for a wonderful day of fashionable looks!

  8. the Dress shape is great but where are the beautiful prints or patterns Meghan could wear? Black is too stark. Why wear black to the Irish garden party????

  9. I do think she looks great. She looks great in these dark colors( however, my screen gives the impression this is more black than navy) with fitted silouhetes.. I do think on this one that it is too fitted. I think it looks a bit tight as evidence of the pull lines on her back near the zipper and on the front bodice. I think the skirt is either a bit too full or a bit too long it dwarfs her body IMO. Over all a very elegant look.

  10. I love this look! The colour is excellent I think. Meghan’s colouring seems best suited to deep, rick, dark tones in her clothing. I just think she looks washed out and not at her best when she’s in pastels (although I understand there’s protocols around this sort of thing). I loved everything about this outfit including the accessories. I think she should go with more bold and deep colour choices in the future. Although I can appreciate a lot others’ comments about the colour being too dark so maybe a medium-to-dark colour would be a good compromise. Just my thoughts 🙂

  11. on its own the look is fine but I am starting to get the feeling that these outfits are too much for the various occasions where they are worn. something more subtle was in order for this appearance

  12. I love this whole look. Dior looks amazing on her! Just perfect.
    I’m a little shocked to see people on the net keep repeating that you never see royals wear black when it’s not a funeral when I can think of at least a half-dozen occasions where Kate has worn black. Maybe those folks are referring to church events, or not. Even so, yes I’ve absolutely seen royals wear black when it’s not a funeral.
    But, doesn’t really matter since the dress is the MOST luscious shade of navy.

  13. I thought the dress, the hat and clutch were wonderful vintage-inspired perfection. But the shoes! I know I’m in the minority here apparently, but the colour was just wrong. Far too light for such a beautiful navy. But what I’m afraid spoils all her looks for me, is her wearing shoes that are just too darned big! I know it’s a trick she learned for the red carpet to avoid blisters, but she has such slender legs and narrow feet that it just looks silly – like a little girl wearing her mum’s heels. She needs a word or two with her sister-in-law about heel wearing and blister avoidance.

    • Katherine, I too didn’t like the light coloured shoes with such a dark dress. As for this trick of getting shoes too big to avoid blisters, I am somewhat baffled. When I see the price tag of the shoes that Kate and Meghan wear, they are often over $500 and some nearly hit $1,000. Surely at that price the quality would be such, that blisters don’t occur. I may be naive, because I’ve never had a really expensive pair of shoes. My thoughts were the ones that cost so much do so, because they are built for comfort and are lined to avoid rubbing.

      • Exactly my thinking. I know I get blisters if my shoes are too big. And it seems she does have very narrow feet – maybe this is the issue? But I’m sure if this was the case having a half size too big shoe would only exacerbate the chance of blisters. Maybe she should try buying the actual correct size, then break them in around the house like us normal folk (or employ someone to do it for her like her grandmother-in-law does lol). Plus I’m sure shoe designers would happily custom make shoes in her exact size and keep the “pattern” on file for future purchases.

  14. Hat: oh my, yes. Hair: sleek and lovely. Earrings: perfect choice: Dress: love the lines, clearly I am the only one on the face of the planet who thinks her bustline looks a bit smashed here, but that is a minor thing. The dress is gorgeous. Rest of the accessories: thumbs up. Total winner! I hope this doesn’t sound as if I’m grudgingly admiring – compared with all of the exclamation points above, this paragraph probably sounds pretty staid. But I think she looks just outstanding here. My favorite is still the beautiful deep blue cape dress from several months ago, but this is a Hall-of-Famer.

  15. Meghan is a dream in this outfit!
    You know what I’m going to find fun? Watching both Meghan and Kate over the years and taking some style inspiration from them both when deciding on my personal wardrobe choices!
    A little bit of Kate here, a little bit of Meghan there, my own taste thrown in over here… and poof! Outfit magic may happen!
    I think some forget there’s FUN to be had in watching BOTH lovely ladies!

  16. wow, wow, wow, this outfit is a pure winner. Love the dark smouldering navy colour of the dress and the style is so elegant. The wisp and swirl of the hat is purely gorgeous and just sets the outfit off. The change of colour in the shoes compliments the whole outfit. Such a winner, how could anyone not love this.

  17. Hat: yes.
    Dress: I agree with those who find something off about the fit – it’s the bust, which looks uneven and wrinkly. Also, she seems to only wear boatnecks these days….
    Color: to me it looks black, but even the dark navy seems dour for the occasion (HM was in eye-poppingly bright colors!). The royals only really wear dark colors at sombre, funereal events, so this seems to have been a slightly odd choice.

  18. I have a question: is that a tiny bow on the waist? I’m totally here for that if it is; I just feel like I need to know! Let’s zoom in!

  19. I love the dress. The retro silhouette is beautiful. I only wish I could pull off such full skirts.
    I am in the extreme minority in not liking the hat. It just reminds me of perpellers above her head. Maybe if it was on a different angle and not the dead top/centre of her head.

  20. Yes Meghan, Yes! Perfectly tailored and styled head to toe. Appreciate the colour coordination with Harry. The dress is a classic design, pairing it with the hat is on the whimsical side, and absolutely appropriate and elegant. The shoes are perfectly subtle but still fun and dainty. The hair keeps the look polished. Love, love!

  21. Absolutely love this look from top to toe! So “New Look”, which is such a classic that it can simply never seem costume-y. I’m really enjoying Meghan’s introduction into the wonderful world of hats — I always knew that if she’d just give them a go, she’d find her favorites. We’ve now seen several different basic styles of hats and each one is more adorable than the last.

  22. Love this so much. That hat is just stunning. Modern & elegant. Makes Kate’s choice of hat look old & frumpy. Well done Meghan.

  23. Thank you for such an incredible post laden with historical facts that I find very fascinating. Add to that her outfit today was WOW! Beautifully tailored and her hat reminds me of the chopper blades off a helicopter as if she’s about to fly up any minute haha and so fitting for the RAF service.

  24. I’m not sure if this is the place to say it, but I feel so spoiled now that we have Meghan too. It was just Kate for such a long time (I wonder if Kate feels a little relieved with the spotlight giving her a little break). And I’m also very happy that I get to follow them through the very sophisticated What Kate Wore and What Meghan Wore sites. I can even say that I’ve started following Kate because of the WKW Page, and it’s a great treat to get the same sophistication here too.
    Aaaand for her look today, stunning! I couldn’t take my eyes off of her, wow.

    • While I still love the dress I like it slightly less now that Dior have confirmed it was black. I just feel such head to toe black is inappropriate.

  25. So appreciate the quality of the conversation/comments on this blog, as well as the What Kate Wore blog. Other places have devolved into something quite shocking. Thank you for setting an wonderfully suitable standard.

    • Yes…I’ve said that previously. Susan does a great job and nearly all who post on this blog are courteous and lovers of fashion. There are no biased or mean comments here.

  26. Meghan looks stunning in this Dior, that harkens back to the 50s-60s. Her hat is a nice compliment, as is the sweet clutch. But I do wonder why she wore light shoes. In my opinion this throws off the whole look. The stiff material of the dress and the veiled hat are so formal and the shoes look casual in their colour. I also feel, that Meghan is colour challenged, as far as picking the right shade for the occasion. At the christening, her olive outfit, although very stylish, was drab for a happy event. Likewise, this all black (or is it midnight blue?) looks like she is attending a memorial, not a celebration for a 100 year anniversary.

  27. Finally! Something tailored to Meghan! I’ve been so dissapointed with the tailoring on her outfits, but we all know Dior wouldn’t let her walk out in anything less than their best. Let’s hope the good tailoring lasts!

  28. First of all, THANK YOU for curating such a wonderful post! Your inclusion of historic photos, interesting vid, pertinent quotes, etc. helps me to understand Meghan’s choices, appreciate the occasion and her role. It must take a lot of extra time and effort to put these out but they are always so appreciated.
    The Dior dress is pure magic on Meghan. The saturated color and her choice to be free of necklaces and brooches gave me the opportunity to enjoy the clean lines of the dress and be wowed by another Stephen Jones masterpiece. I thought the dark dress looked especially beautiful alongside Prince Harry’s RAF uniform. Very dignified.

  29. That hat blows me away! What a stunner. While I agree with others that I’d have liked the navy to be a tad lighter, the whole look is gorgeous. She loves classic French design and wears it beautifully. It’s a lovely silhouette and the tailoring is superb.

  30. Wow, wow, wow, wow, wow! What an incredibly elegant, sophisticated, beautiful look. The neckline is perfection. The thin belt is lovely, and that hat is incredible. This, along with the cape dress and the dress she wore with the Queen are my 3 fave non-wedding dress looks from her. And the beautiful yellow from the other day coming in close too.

  31. I think this is the best she has ever looked, by far. the tailoring is perfect, the hat is awesome and I love the shoes. He hair and earrings are lovely too. I hope we see more of this silhouette.

  32. I love this look. I love the dress itself – its well designed, vintage but not costume-y, and fits her perfectly. I usually am bored by nude heels but here they work because they lighten the overall look. And that hat is gorgeous. Love the simple jewelry that seems to be Meghan’s thing (well relatively simple, for diamond earrings, ha!) and her hair and makeup look perfect.
    Way to hit it out of the park, Meghan.

  33. I couldn’t love this look any more than I do! That almost retro style of fit and flare dress is my absolute favorite silhouette, and this dress is especially beautiful. Meghan looks amazing in it. Navy is my go-to neutral, so I’m partial to the color as well. The hat is a great combination of whimsy and elegant, her hair looks nice, those shoes are killer, and I love the clutch with the dragonfly. Wow–three triumphant outfits in a row!

  34. This is completely fabulous, exactly what I expect when I think Dior! I absoultely LOVE LOVE the hat and the whole look is so feminine and elegant. Despite my previous annoyance with the constant boat necks, this one really looks fabulous and is perfect with the rest of the dress and setting. My only minor critique would be I would have liked the shoes and clutch to both be nude, but it’s minor. Overall, WOW!

  35. I have to say that I just love this silhouette on the Duchess. The fit and flare with so many fitted seams just looks amazing. So old hollywood. The only thing I would possibly change is the sleeve length. I’d maybe take it up to the elbow instead of the 3/4 sleeve as that’s just not a personal favorite of mine, but that’s a minor detail. I love the deep navy, it is the “little black dress” for daytime that will never go out of style. I think the nudey-pink pumps paired with this was actually a good choice, as it broke the look up a bit and the shade of pink went well with the navy. Much like yesterday at the christening, I think she is really starting to get the hang of the hat/fascinator with a modern sleek bun. I do like her messy bun on more casual occasions but for formal instances such as this, the smoothed down version just goes better as a whole. One thing I have noticed is that she has definitely toned down her jewelry, leaving it to just her wedding rings and an earring for the official palace engagements. I hope that she’ll bring back her stack rings or other cool accessories for Ireland. I love it when she gives us a little cool street style mixed with high end pieces.

  36. Well that dress is adorable and the hat is gorgeous, but it’s just all too dark. I thought it was black but looking at these higher quality photos I see that it’s navy. But it looks black. Just far too dark. You never ever see a royal in black. And again, this is navy, so I get it, but maybe a lighter navy next time. Still, it’s fantastic and she looks adorable. I really love the hat. I’ve mentioned it before about a hat she wore, that as an American I just don’t get the English hat thing, but now this is the second hat that Meghan was worn that I absolutely love. I’m thinking her also being an American has something to do with it. I would never say we have the same style because she’s miles and away above me, but it seems like she goes for the kind of hats that as an American I am also drawn to.

    • You do actually see royals in black. I know that idea that they cant wear black gained steam this winter, but Kate herself has worn all black on several different occasions. It’s not forbidden.

  37. Oh my goodness. Be still my heart. This is absolutely, quintessentially perfect. I love this so much!!

    The sheer elegance and classic tailoring, the silhouette…the whole ensemble is a work of art.

    She reminds me of Audrey Hepburn here.

  38. Love the look but really wish it had been navy, which would be less funereal. And I think the fit is a little big for my tastes but I think this is how she likes to size her clothes. Love the color decision with thr shoes! Nice to not be too matchy.

    • yes, I see now that it is navy! Very happy about that–just looks darker in some light. What a great look and it’s great to see some whimsy with her hat.

    • I don’t mean to be disagreeable but how can this be big, it fits her like a glove. And I agree that it is likely navy, if you look at her next to Harry’s blue, it seems to blend with that better than black would, also the back ribbon on the hat is clearly blue.

      • There’s something about how she fits/sizes/wears her boatneck dresses which makes me want to move the waistband up a tad higher or maybe raise the armhole a little. That’s all. And because these dresses are all tailored for her, I assume she prefers them to fit the way they do, which looks fine but isn’t my preference. They just look a wee bit stiff in the upper body. Still a great look!

      • It really depends on your screen. On my computer earlier it looked very black, now on my phone I can’t believe I thought it was black. All screens render color slightly differently – think of when you go buy a TV and they are all playing on the wall, all the pictures look different (obviously there is resolution and stuff, but the colors often look different, and you can also adjust your settings)

      • Ellen, I agree with you. She would never wear black with the queen in attendance unless it was a funeral. It does photograph black but the hat photographs blue, which should have been a clue for the press.

  39. I find it difficult to describe how deeply and intensely I adore everything about this outfit. She’s on a roll with hats. The dress is gorgeously cut; classically Dior. The bee clasp on the bag is killing me; I’m literally dead. Bateau necks forever. She’s a vision today.

    • Haha I second everything you just said! She has definately found her go to neckline with the boatneck. Its so flattering on her. I always like what Meghan wears but the tailoring on this, well she nailed it this time! And that hat! So whimsical! Love it all. I think the coloring too looks nice next to Harry’s uniform and with the theme of the day.

    • Right on with the bateau necks. I always liked them well enough but now I want to change out everything in my wardrobe for bateaus!
      Meghan is killing it this week and this vintage vibe is phenomenal. Also makes me think of 50s Princess Margaret!

  40. Another stunning outfit from Meghan, she’s getting well ahead in the royal style stakes. This is tailoring at its superb best, every angle of the neckline, the precise length of sleeves just a whisper above the wrist, and the fabulous fit of the bodice, all combine brilliantly to set off Maeghan’s natural beauty and grace. The classic full Dior skirt is simply icing on the sartorial cake.

    The fascinator is simply genius with her hair so close to her head at first glance it looks almost like a skull cap and its whimsy translucent embellishment contrasts nicely with the block navy of the dress. Love the clutch, and I think it’s further genius to pop on a pair of nude courts to break up the monochrome but only in an oh-so-subtle understated classic Meghan way. Breathtaking.

    • She looks stunning. And navy photographs well against the stone of the cathedral and the palace balcony (we don’t lose her against the background).


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